High yield in London

Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP

'The firm leaves no stone unturned in getting a deal done’, remarks a client of Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP, noting that 'the team finds a good balance between knowing the detail where needed and taking a step back and seeing the big picture where the deal demands it’. The firm is regarded as one of the premier advisers to both issuers and underwriters in the execution of complex, cross-border high yield bonds issued in multiple currencies. It counts Barclays, BNP Paribas, Citigroup and Morgan Stanley among its investment bank clients. The firm was instrumental in the development of the European high yield market and maintains a strong bench of practitioners in London. Philip Boeckman (who is 'one of top three technical high yield attorneys in the market’), and George Stephanakis (who 'thinks strategically but can equally deal with micro-details’) are the lead partners. Alyssa Caples is another standout partner who 'knows the deals inside out’. European counsel Margaret Rallings is also recommended.

Other key lawyers:

Alyssa Caples; Margaret Rallings

Testimonials

‘Philip Boeckman is one of top three technical high yield attorneys in the market.’

‘The firm leaves no stone unturned in getting a deal done for its clients. They find a good balance between knowing the detail where needed and taking a step back and seeing the big picture where the deal demands it. Compared to other firms in this sector, they are always good fun to work with and really collaborate with their clients to get the best results.’

‘Alyssa Caples really gets to know her clients’ businesses and knows the deals inside out whilst still being able to guide the deal at a more commercial level.’

‘Led by Phillip Boeckman, the team is very focused and is a pleasure to deal with always.’

‘The firm is very professional and knowledgeable in the tiny details of bond documentation. Always available, they never miss a deadline and are proactive.’

‘George Stephanakis has a long-standing association with our company and, therefore, has much-needed institutional knowledge of our bond transactions and the company. Despite being extremely busy he is always available at short notice. He thinks strategically but can equally deal with micro-details. He consistently provides good advice and guidance.’

Key clients

Barclays

BNP PARIBAS

Citigroup

Credit Suisse

Deutsche Bank

Drax

Goldman Sachs

HSBC

INEOS

J.P. Morgan

Morgan Stanley

Sappi

UBS

Work highlights

  • Represented INEOS Finance plc in its €770m 144A/Reg. S high yield senior secured notes offering, guaranteed by INEOS Group Holdings S.A., INEOS Luxembourg I S.A., INEOS Holdings Limited and certain of their subsidiaries. INEOS is one of the world’s largest chemical companies.
  • Represented the initial purchasers (led by Deutsche Bank) in the €650m 144A/Reg. S high yield senior secured floating rate notes offering of Rossini S.à r.l., a CVC-controlled holding company that indirectly owns a majority interest in Recordati S.p.A., a well-established international specialty pharmaceutical company.
  • Represented Sappi Papier Holding GmbH in its €450m 144A/Reg. S high yield senior notes offering. Sappi Papier Holding GmbH is a subsidiary of Sappi Limited, a company focused on providing dissolving wood pulp, paper pulp and paper-based solutions to its direct and indirect customer base across more than 100 countries.

Kirkland & Ellis International LLP

'The firm really dominates in its space and is the gold standard on the sponsor side’, says a client of Kirkland & Ellis International LLP. The firm is frequently involved in complex, high-value and market-leading deals for private equity houses and financial sponsors, and it has the largest team in London advising only the issuer side. Its work consists solely of US high-yield bonds and high-yield liability management transactions. The senior high-yield team grew significantly in 2019 and early 2020 though hires and  promotions. William Burke leads the practice and has more than 17 years' experience on the private equity and financial sponsor side. Experienced partner Cedric Van den Borren frequently handles deals in the French market,  among them the largest acquisition in France that consisted of Banijay's takeover of Endemol Shine, while Matthew Merkle is a key adviser to Advent, Bain Capital, Blackstone and KKR. Up-and-coming partner Tim Volkheimer is also recommended. Newly promoted partners Antoine Lebienvenu and Morgan Hill are heavily involved in high-yield bonds and Term Loan B transactions. The firm also hired Deirdre Jones from Latham & Watkins as a partner.

Practice head(s):

William (Bill) Burke

Testimonials

‘The firm really dominates in its space and is the gold standard on the sponsor side.’

‘The team is highly responsive, very knowledgable, always friendly and a pleasure to work with.’

Key clients

Advent

Bain Capital Private Equity

BC Partners

Blackstone

Centerbridge

GoldenTree Asset Management

Lone Star Funds

KKR

Partners Group

Strategic Value Partners

TDR Capital

Triton

Work highlights

  • Represented Blackstone in its financing for the acquisition (along with its consortium partners KIRKBI Invest A/S and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board) of Merlin Entertainments, including an offering of £635 million (equivalent) of euro and U.S. dollar-denominated high yield bond.Matthew Merkle
  • Advised Banijay on a €2.378bn (equivalent) financing in connection with the acquisition of Endemol Shine, which included an innovative “two-step closing” pursuant to which the outstanding bonds of Banijay were refinanced prior to the completion of the Endemol Shine Group acquisition.
  • Advised EG Group, a portfolio company of TDR Capital, on the inaugural offering by EG Global Finance plc of €1.64bn (euro-equivalent) of senior secured notes in a combination of three tranches: €300m 3.625% Senior Secured Notes due 2024, $750m 6.750% Senior Secured Notes due 2025 and €670m 4.375% Senior Secured Notes due 2025.

Latham & Watkins

Latham & Watkins has the largest high-yield practice in London and is seen by many as 'the gold standard for high-yield deals’. The group is versatile in that it can handle high-yield bonds, whether under European or US law, or institutional term loans that use similar covenant packages. Acting mainly for banks, though also for issuers, the practice is twice the size of any other high-yield team in the City. As well as leading the market in volume, the firm is also involved in cutting-edge deals for investment banks, private equity sponsors and corporates across a range of industries. It has recently worked on hybrid products, regulatory limitations, and numerous public-to-private (P2P) transactions such as R12 Kapital AB’s takeover of Oriflame Holdings AG. Its work covers a wide range of industry sectors including distressed debt, financial institutions, telecoms, retail, energy and natural resources, chemicals, infrastructure, real estate, care homes and the food industry. Brett Cassidy leads a practice that has a deep bench of outstanding practitioners, among them Jocelyn SeitzmanScott Colwell, Jennifer Engelhardt, Francesco Lione, James Burnett and up-and-coming partners Matthew Schneider and Fritz Ernemann.

Practice head(s):

Brett Cassidy

Testimonials

‘It has the most respected practice in the City. They are the giants with the biggest market share.’

‘The firm is gold standard for high-yield deals.’

‘For my most difficult deals, they are the best.’

‘It has a deep and strong bench of lawyers and a good base of associates coming through. The team is approachable and responsive. It has good depth of experience globally around situations and issues.’

‘Jocelyn Seitzman, Scott Colwell and Jenn Engelhardt are my standout contacts there. They are always responsive, excellent technical lawyers but also great personal people to work alongside.’

Key clients

Credit Suisse

CVC Capital Partners

Deutsche Bank

EQT

Goldman Sachs

J.P. Morgan

Morgan Stanley

Owens-Illinois

Permira Advisers

PAI Partners

Work highlights

  • Advised Pinewood Studios in connection with refinancing its capital structure as a result of its transition from corporate high yield issuer to real estate issuer.
  • Advised the Initial Purchasers’ and Lenders’ on the first time issuance of 144A/Reg S Senior Notes by SAZKA Group a.s., one of the largest pan European lottery and gaming operators.
  • Advised Deutsche Bank and Bank of America Merrill Lynch as underwriters of the debt financing comprising Senior Notes and Senior Secured Credit Facilities in connection with a consortium comprising KIRKBI Invest A/S (the Lego founding family), funds advised by Blackstone Core Equity Advisors LLC and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board’s (“CPPIB”) take private acquisition of the UK-listed Merlin Entertainments plc.

Milbank

Milbank continues to grow its practice, having brought over a team from Shearman & Sterling LLP in 2018 and recruited more high-yield specialists in 2019. Focused on complex and high-value bond issuance, the firm is a leading adviser to first-time issuers, having handled ten debut deals in the second half of 2019. Its recent work has involved a wide range of jurisdictions, including Spain, UK, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Norway, the Middle East and Greece, and has seen issuance by companies in industries as diverse as TMT, education, manufacturing, infrastructure, defence and real estate. It handled the first large transaction for a Middle Eastern issuer tapping the US market, the largest cross-border deal in Europe in 2019, and the first US dollar-denominated financing of a leveraged buyout for an Italian company. The 'incredibly energetic, tactical and multi-talented’ Apostolos Gkoutzinis leads the practice, in which Rebecca Marques and Tim Peterson also play active roles. Special counsels Randy Nahlé, Trevor Truman, Joji Ozawa and  Ana Grbec are also recommended. Clients remark on the firm's 'commercial and thoughtful approach’.

Practice head(s):

Apostolos Gkoutzinis

Testimonials

‘The firm takes a commercial and thoughtful approach.’

‘Joji Ozawa is thoughtful, knowledgeable, diligent and always available.’

‘Apostolos Gkoutzinis is incredibly energetic, tactical and multi-talented. He thinks holistically and across disciplines.’

‘I think that the team is unique because of the strength of Apostolos Gkoutzinis leading it. He is a very strong personality and is a hardworking partner.’

‘I hold Apostolos Gkoutzinis and his team in very high regard as they are very serious lawyers but ones who understand, irrespective of which side of the table the firms are sitting at that time, that we have a common goal to achieve on behalf of the relevant clients and we work hard together in a fair and responsible way to achieve that common goal, while still serving our clients’ interests.’

‘It has a highly knowledgeable and experienced team providing very pragmatic advice, and it has the ability to make the complex simple and guide a company through complex problems and make effective decisions.’

‘The biggest strength of the Milbank high-yield practice, as fas as I am concerned, is its senior partner Apostolos Gkoutzinis. There is no team that compares with his support and partnership on the street.’

‘Specifically, I would point to the market knowledge of Apostolos Gkoutzinis and the quality of his legal advice and service, his speed of response and top execution. His access to corporate and FIG clients is unprecedented and commands the respects of bankers and issuers alike.’

‘The team has great depth and understanding of the current market. They are excellent at explaining the issues, very quick to respond and provide advice, and they set deadlines and stick to them and are just as helpful off-deal as when we’re working with them.’

‘Rebecca Marques and Ana Garbec are part of a fantastic team. They cover a broad spectrum of deals and provide excellent advice. They’re quick, practical and commercial which is extremely helpful and don’t waste time with points that are not worth arguing. They have a good understanding of the market and recent positions as well as sponsor positions, so their advice is just as commercial as it is legal. They also provide training and keep in touch when we’re not working on deals.’

‘The team has in-depth knowledge and engagement, and it is able to accommodate all issues that came up.’

‘Apostolos Gkoutzinis is excellent to work with, with high-level expertise. He shows dedication to the project, always makes himself available and provides valuable insight.’

Key clients

Goldman Sachs International

J.P. Morgan Securities plc

BNP Paribas

Citigroup Global Markets Limited

Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank

Eir

Wind Hellas

Salt

SAZKA Group

Ellaktor, S.A.

Jaguar Land Rover

Unifrutti Group

Mytilineos S.A.

Petroleum Geo-Services

Work highlights

  • Advised SAZKA Group on obtaining committed financing for its all-cash, unconditional offer to acquire Greece’s OPAP. The offer valued the entire share capital of OPAP in excess of €3.1bn.
  • Advised Eircom Finance on a series of major transactions this year, including its €1.15bn bank/bond financing transaction in May 2019, its subsequent issuance of €350m senior secured notes in October 2019, and its offering of €350m senior secured notes in November 2019.
  • Advised the financing sources on the financing in connection with CVC Capital Partners’ acquisition of a 30% stake in GEMS Education. A refinancing was carried out as part of a larger transaction that saw CVC acquire a roughly 30% stake in GEMS Education, resulting in the exit of an investor group led by Fajr Capital, along with Blackstone and Mumtalakat. The financing is expected to include $1.65bn in term loans and senior secured notes.

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP

Clients remark that the team at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP is 'highly knowledgeable about the relevant law and the market, as well as creative and cost-effective, and the lawyers are a model of availability and responsiveness’. Consistently among the top firms for advising on high-yield debt transactions globally as issuer and manager counsel, the firm has a strong presence in London where the team has acted in 19 bond deals in the last two years, raising more than $13bn. The practice frequently handles high-yield offerings for the portfolio companies of sponsors such as Apax, Blackstone and TDR Capital. Working alongside its highly rated banking practice, the team also acts for underwriters. Carol Daniel, Nicholas Shaw and Gil Strauss are the most prominent US securities law partners in the practice and the frequently advise private equity sponsors, public and private held companies and underwriters on bond deals, restructurings, IPOs and other corporate finance transactions. Counsel Uma Sud is also recommended for her work for private equity houses and high-profile issuers such as Aston Martin.

Other key lawyers:

Uma Sud

Testimonials

‘Gil Strauss and his team are highly knowledgeable about the relevant law and the market. They are creative and cost-effective. And they are a model of availability and responsiveness.’

Key clients

Apax Partners

Aston Martin

The Blackstone Group

J.P. Morgan

KfW

Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. L.P. (KKR)

Melrose Industries

New Look

Silver Lake

TDR Capital

Viridian (a portfolio company of I Squared Capital)

Voyage Care (a portfolio company of Partners Group and Duke Street Private Equity)

Work highlights

  • Representation of Aston Martin in connection with: an offering of $150m in aggregate principal amount of 12% Senior Secured Split Coupon Notes due 2022 and up to $100m in aggregate principal amount of 12%/15% Delayed Draw Senior Split Coupon Notes due 2022.
  • Representation of the initial purchasers in connection with an offering of additional Notes by Selecta Group B.V., a KKR portfolio company, which consisted of a Rule 144A and Regulation S offering of €100m 5.875% Senior Secured Notes due 2024 and €50m Senior Secured Floating Rate Notes due 2024 and constituted a further offering under the indenture governing Selecta’s existing €765 million 5.875% Senior Secured Notes due 2024, €325m Senior Secured Floating Rate Notes due 2024 and CHF250m 5.875% Senior Secured Notes due 2024.
  • Representation of LHMC Finco 2 S.à. r.l. and Cirsa Gaming in multiple high yield offerings, including: LHMC Finco 2 S.à. r.l.’s Rule 144A and Regulation S offering of €400m  Senior Secured PIK Toggle Notes due 2025.

Allen & Overy LLP

Allen & Overy LLP is the most prominent UK-headquartered law firm in the European high-yield market, with a growing presence in high-value deals for both arrangers and managers. With a number of high-yield partners and more US-qualified partners in London who are involved in the practice as needed, it has a deep bench of talent led by vastly experienced partner and global head of high yield Kevin Muzilla. He has practised in the European high-yield market since its inception and has extensive experience in advising underwriters, financial sponsors and corporate issuers. The practice is closely integrated with the firm's market-leading banking, leveraged finance, debt capital markets, corporate and restructuring groups, enabling it to cover all aspects of the capital structure including cross-over credits and emerging market high-yield transactions. Matthias Baudisch, Jeanette Cruz, and John Kicken all stand out for bond issuance, leveraged finance and acquisition finance.

Practice head(s):

Kevin Muzilla

Key clients

House of HR

Vue International

Intralot

Metinvest

SGL Carbon

IHO Holdings

Perstorp/PAI Partners

Blackstone

KCA Deutag

Sarens

Work highlights

  • Advised the House of HR on its offering of €320m of senior secured notes, €550m of senior secured Term Loan B and €100m of revolving credit loans in a financing totalling €970m.
  • Advised the investment banks on a complex dual stage, multi-tranche notes offering by Altice France SA, Altice Luxembourg SA and Ypsos Finance Bis SA as part of major capital restructuring that totalled €4,950m million (equivalent) in the aggregate; the transaction involved a three-tranche cash offering, a dual tranche exchange offer and a novel flip up exchange mechanism that automatically exchanged four of the tranches into a new holdco entity subject to certain conditions.
  • Advised the underwriters on the successful €1.145bn senior secured notes offering by Techem to refinance existing Term Loan B – a milestone transaction signalling the reversal of the trend of bond-to loan refinancings in recent years.

Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP

'The firm has deep knowledge of the capital markets transactions, relevant case law and market practice', says a client of Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP. Another notes that 'as one of the original high yield practices in Europe, Cahill has an incredible depth of experience and knowledge'. The firm is best known for representing banks in high yield bond issues and syndicated loans. In 2019, the firm was again among the top five by volume for representation of managers in Western European high yield bonds. Its work for Citigroup in the issuance of $2.2bn of high yield notes for ARD Finance, which involved a first-of-kind, bespoke set of covenants, shows that the firm is still involved in some of the market's most innovative deals. Anthony Tama leads the practice following the retirement of Jim Robinson. He and associate Matthew Haar are 'very competent, insightful and results-oriented'. The team received a significant boost in summer 2020 with the hire of well-regarded high yield/debt financing partner Jake Keaveny   from Allen & Overy LLP . Keaveny joined the US firm alongside leveraged finance partner Jonathan Brownson.

Practice head(s):

Anthony Tama

Other key lawyers:

Matthew Haar

Testimonials

‘The firm has deep knowledge of the capital markets transactions, relevant case law and market practice on what usual credit terms are, both within the bond, term loan and bank facility space.’

‘Anthony Tama and Mathew Haar are both are very competent, insightful and results-oriented, and always available to help out with constructive problem-solving.’

‘As one of the original high yield practices in Europe, Cahill has an incredible depth of experience and knowledge as well as a long list of historical clients that it works for. As a general matter this is a great team to work with – a real pleasure – and know the market inside and out. They are highly dedicated and focused on getting the job done!’

‘Jim Robinson retired at the end of 2019 which ended an era, but he has handed off to Anthony Tama who is an excellent partner and who will carry the baton forward. Anthony is a major league partner and has all the skills to continue the success of Cahill in Europe.’

Key clients

Citigroup Global Markets Limited

Credit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank

Credit Suisse Securities (Europe) Limited

J.P. Morgan Securities plc

Deutsche Bank AG, London Branch

Work highlights

  • Advised lead bank on $2.2bn of high yield notes for ARD Finance, a parent company of Ardagh Group, involving a bespoke set of covenants that had not been seen before in a high yield issue.
  • Advised initial purchasers in $2.85bn worth of High-Yield notes for Trivium Packaging, which involved a complicated structure and bespoke documentation for a joint venture structure, an uncommon element in the high yield market.
  • Advised the lead bank in Standard Industries Inc.’s follow on to its first-ever euro offering.

Clifford Chance LLP

'The firm shows consistent performance on both loans and bonds’, notes a client of Clifford Chance LLP. Another remarks that the firm has 'a small but professional team that is hardworking and generally keen to impress’. Focusing on complex and often innovative transactions, the high-yield practice handles many M&A-related financings, usually for private equity houses. It also deals with high-value debt refinancings, such as its work for banks on the $1.3bn high-yield issuance by IHS in Nigeria in what was one of the most significant African deals in recent years. Half of the firm's London US law group is now dedicated to high-yield work across Europe and emerging markets. Their work includes infrastructure-related bonds, as well as cross-over and hybrid credits that attract both high-yield and investment grade investors. 'Approachable and commercial’ partner Michael Dakin leads the practice, in which Andrew Kelly is a key player.

Practice head(s):

Michael Dakin

Other key lawyers:

Andrew Kelly

Testimonials

‘Michael Dakin is very approachable and commercial.’

‘The firm shows consistent performance on both loans and bonds.’

‘The team positions itself as issuer’s counsel. It is a small but professional team that is hardworking and generally keen to impress.’

‘Michael Dakin is hardworking with a charismatic personality and is a good team leader.’

Key clients

TDC

OCI N.V.

Morgan Stanley & Co. International plc

BNP Paribas

Goldman Sachs

Deutsche Bank

Merrill Lynch International

EQT

Maxima Grupe UAB

Work highlights

  • Handled one of the most important high yield issuances out of Africa in the last few years for IHS, and one of the largest high yield issuances ever at $1.3bn.
  • Handled a significant and highly successful transaction for OCI N.V. that continues the company’s strategy of optimising its capital structure and reducing its weighted average cost of debt; it was a complex cross-border deal including businesses across the globe, with a particular concentration in MENA.
  • Handled a €750m refinancing from crossover credit Dufry, an example of the increasing attractiveness of these transactions to both high yield and investment grade investors.

Linklaters LLP

The high-yield group at Linklaters LLP is integrated into the firm’s market-leading banking practice and comprises specialist partners with a long track record in high yield, covenant-intensive debt securities, leveraged finance and restructuring. The firm works on complex and high-value transactions rather than focusing on volume, and it leverages its multi-jurisdictional capability offered by its network of offices in Europe and Asia. Initially established to cater for the needs of underwriters, the practice has broadened its scope and now also acts for financial sponsors, corporate issuers and bridge lenders. It is frequently involved in LBOs, P2P transactions, dividend recaps, refinancings and private high-yield deals. Alexander Naidenov (who is 'charismatic, creative and a real team-player’) and Mark Hageman (who is 'hardworking, hands-on" and highly experienced’) jointly lead the practice. Partner Colin Chang, who works in both the London and Paris offices, joined in early 2020 from White & Case LLP in Paris.

Practice head(s):

Alexander Naidenov; Mark Hageman

Other key lawyers:

Colin Chang

Testimonials

‘Linklaters delivers consistently high-quality work. It has a fairly small team, but everybody is capable and professional.’

‘It has a good combination at a partner level, with two high-quality partners having very different personalities. Mark Hageman is a hardworking, hands-on” and highly experienced lawyer. Alek Naidenov is charismatic, creative and a real team-player.’

Key clients

GEMS Education (acting for CVC)

Gamenet (acting for Bridge Lenders/ Initial Purchasers)

Stonegate (acting for Bridge Lenders)

Eir (acting for Initial Purchasers)

United Group (acting for Bridge Lenders and Initial Purchasers)

Cirsa Gaming (acting for Initial Purchasers)

SALT (acting for Initial Purchasers)

Assemblin (acting for Triton)

Work highlights

  • Acted for the bridge lenders in the bridge loan financing of the P2P by TDR Capital and Stonegate of Enterprises Inn (Ei), a company listed on the London Stock Exchange; the bridge financings are comprised of a £1.35bn of senior bridge facilities and £400m of second lien bridge facilities.
  • Acted for the bridge lenders and the initial purchasers in a series of bridge loan financings and bond offerings for BC Partners and United Group in 2019, including: (i) the €306m PIK bridge loan and PIK bond offering for the acquisition of United Group by BC Partners and KKR, (ii) the €550m bond offering for the refinancing of a portion of United Group’s existing high bonds, (iii) the €200m bridge loan and bond offering for the acquisition of Tele2 Croatia by United Group and (iv) the €200m PIK bridge loan and €1bn senior secured bridge loans (and pending bond offerings) for the acquisition of Bulgaria Telecomm by United Group.
  • Acted for CVC and GEMS Education, the world’s leading provider of private K-12 English language education by revenues, operating in the UAE and Qatar; the financing was launched in the context of a CVC-led consortium acquiring 30.5% of the shares in GEMS’ parent. The founding Varkey family remains the majority shareholder. The $900m high yield offering was part of a $1.65bn bond and loan financing.

Paul Hastings LLP

Paul Hastings LLP advises sophisticated clients, including global banks, private credit funds and issuers, on complex cross-border high-yield transactions. Among its clients are Morgan Stanley, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs and Blackstone. With high yield being an integral part of the wider banking and finance group, the firm is able to advise on the full range of bonds and leveraged loans. One client remarks that it has 'a great team that is efficient, knowledgeable and always on top of everything’. Corporate partner Peter Schwartz leads the firm's European high-yield practice. He has more than 20 years' experience and is a key adviser to major investment banks. Leveraged finance partner Edward Holmes handles leveraged loan and capital markets transactions for underwriters and arrangers, notably in acquisition financing and high-yield debt offerings. Associate Carlos Ruiz also plays a key role in the firm's largest mandates.

Practice head(s):

Peter Schwartz

Other key lawyers:

Edward Holmes; Carlos Ruiz

Testimonials

The firm has a great team, efficient, knowledgeable, always on top of everything andhands on”. I love to work with them and to brainstorm.’

‘Edward Holmes is extremely smart, efficient, easy-going and great to work with.’

‘The advocacy, advice and careful compliance with securities laws set Paul Hastings apart.’

‘The high-yield team at Paul Hastings are strong advocates. I know when an issue is brought to me for consideration they have already fought hard for me, whereas some other firms seem to spend more time trying to talk me into the opposing party’s position than fighting for my own.’

‘The Paul Hastings team is happy to provide specific and actionable advice, and to put that advice on email. Their willingness to take a position and stand behind it is a great help in documenting my efforts to comply with the law and achieve favourable outcomes. Too many other firms equivocate and provide advice only by phone.’

‘The Paul Hastings high-yield team is very careful to ensure compliance with securities laws. This is particularly important on emerging markets transactions and helps me get comfortable with difficult issues on challenging transactions.’

‘Peter Schwartz excels in complex emerging markets transactions. He makes even the most difficult deals happen through a combination of legal acumen, tenacity, creativity and years of experience shepherding challenging transactions to market.’

‘Edward Holmes has an excellent understanding of both US and European markets and practice. He is skilled at getting all sides to a reasonable position without undue stress.’

‘Associate Carlos Ruiz is always organised and on top of issues. Having him on point in transactions provides peace of mind that nothing is slipping through the cracks.’

Key clients

Blackstone

Goldman Sachs

Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Citigroup

Credit Suisse

Barclays

Royal Bank of Canada

NatWest

JP Morgan

Morgan Stanley

TD Securities

BNP Paribas

HSBC

Deutsche Bank

Mizuho

GCX Limited

Standard Chartered Bank

Standard Bank

Nomura

EA Partners I B.V.

EA Partners II B.V.

Oakley Capital

KKR

Brookfield

York Capital

Work highlights

  • Advising Morgan Stanley, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Goldman Sachs as global coordinators for the high yield notes issuance of an aggregate of €1.475bn Senior Secured Notes and Senior Notes by Summer (BC) Holdco B S.à r.l. and Summer (BC) Holdco A S.à r.l., as part of the $3bn financing package for Bain Capital’s acquisition of a majority stake in Kantar.
  • Advising Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse, Barclays, Blackstone, BNP Paribas, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, NatWest and UniCredit Bank as arrangers and initial purchasers on a £2.5bn financing package for private investment firm Advent International’s acquisition of Cobham plc.
  • Advised Credit Suisse, Citigroup, Barclays, BNP Paribas, Crédit Agricole CIB, Deutsche Bank Securities, Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan, Morgan Stanley, RBC Capital Markets, Scotiabank, TD Securities and Wells Fargo in connection with the $1.25bn tap senior notes issued by CSC Holdings, LLC, a subsidiary of Altice USA, one of the largest broadband communications and video services providers in the United States.

Ropes & Gray LLP

'The firm always adds value add through its commercial judgment and technical expertise’, says a client of Ropes & Gray LLP. Another remarks upon 'a great team with lawyers who are smart, always on top of their game, client-focused and actively looking for solutions when roadblocks arise’. In 2019, the team focused on big-ticket, and highly complex, high-yield financing for corporate entities, including its work for BidFair on the $3.7bn acquisition of Sotheby’s. The firm continued to expand its client base among both underwriters and lenders, while acting on repeat mandates for major players such as Goldman Sachs. Michael Kazakevich leads the finance practice in London and is a key adviser to repeat issuer Altice. The 'thoughtful and creative’ Jane Rogers plays a key role in the firm's work for repeat issuer Liberty Global and is among the most experienced high-yield lawyers in the City. Partners Robert Haak  and Aditya Khanna are also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Michael Kazakevich

Testimonials

‘The firm always adds value add through its commercial judgment and technical expertise.’

‘The firm has a great team with lawyers who are smart, always on top of their game, client-focused and actively looking for solutions when roadblocks arise. They go above and beyond to get the work done. Above all, it is a great team to work with. They form a true partnership with their client.’

‘Jane Rogers is a brilliant lawyer, very thoughtful and creative, who listens carefully and comes up with solutions for complex problems. She has done a great job building up and leading the London finance team.’

‘Rob Haak is an outstanding partner, valued for the contribution he provides to us as a client and his ability to turn things around quickly at short notice.’

Key clients

Bidfair

Goldman Sachs

Liberty Latin America Ltd.

VodafoneZiggo Group

Altice Europe

Cable & Wireless Communications Limited

Altice USA

Liberty Global and Virgin Media

Altice France

First Quantum Minerals Ltd

Work highlights

  • Advised BidFair on the $600m high yield bond for its $3.7bn acquisition of Sotheby’s.
  • Advised a consortium of banks lead by Goldman Sachs on a dual-currency €775m senior secured notes offering with the proceeds used to refinance the previously funded bridge loan used to finance the take-private of Oriflame.
  • Advised Liberty Latin America on the financing aspects, including bank and bond financing, of its $1.95bn acquisition of AT&T’s operations in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.

Shearman & Sterling LLP

Shearman & Sterling LLP has been rebuilding its high-yield capability in London and, in doing so, has rebalanced its practice to act for a more diverse range of clients. Strong on lender-side work, it increasingly acts for private equity sponsors and corporate issuers, as well as investment banks, across Europe, emerging markets and the US. The London office also has an integrated lender-side leveraged finance practice to handle both high-yield bonds and leveraged loans. David Dixter leads the EMEA capital markets group, in which European regional managing partner, global head of the leveraged finance business and EMEA finance team leader Ward McKimm oversees the high-yield team. McKimm, who is qualified in both US and English law, focuses on cross-border matters with a notable emphasis on France. Marwa Elborai is praised for her 'impressive commitment and deep understanding of all the regulatory procedures'. Trevor Ingram, who is qualified in both the US and Canada, is increasingly involved in emerging markets work, notably in South Africa. Senior associate Gordon Houseman has ‘great talent and energy’.

Practice head(s):

David Dixter

Testimonials

‘We were very impressed by the commercial engagement, level of commitment and large expertise of Shearman & Sterling LLP throughout the conduction of a Rule 144A/Reg S bond issuance. The Shearman team was available to work around the clock and to deliver on all requests even being subject to very tight deadlines. Another great takeaway was the fact that all members involved proved to be capable, flexible and experienced on transactions of this nature.’

‘Partner Marwa Elborai’s role has to be particularly highlighted due to her impressive commitment in this transaction as well as her deep understanding of all the regulatory procedures.’

‘Senior associate Gordon Houseman has great talent and energy.’

‘Marwa Elborai is very knowledgeable. At same time, she is also very approachable and easy to work with.’

Key clients

J.P. Morgan Securities

BNP Paribas

Credit Suisse

Deutsche Bank

Goldman Sachs

Scotia Capital

Deutsche Bank AG, London Branch

BNP Paribas

Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank

Natixis

Société Générale

Ardagh

Trivium Packaging

Goldman Sachs

Crédit Industriel et Commercial

Advent / Cinven

ARD Finance S.A.

TAP – Trasnportes Aéreos Portugueses, SGPS, S.A.

Work highlights

  • Represented Trivium Packaging in connection with its offering of $2.85bn of notes consisting of €625m 3.750% senior secured notes due 2026, $1.05bn 5.500% senior secured notes due 2026, €355 million senior secured floating rate notes due 2026 and $700m 8.500% senior notes due 2027.
  • Advised Deutsche Bank AG, London Branch, BNP Paribas, Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank, Natixis and Société Générale, as joint bookrunners, on Loxam S.A.S.’s high yield notes offering, consisting of €700m 3.25% senior secured notes due 2025, €450m 3.75% senior secured notes due 2026 and €250m 5.75% senior subordinated notes due 2027.
  • Represented Transportes Aéreos Portugueses, S.A. in its €375m high yield bond offering, which consisted of €375m 5.625% senior fixed rate notes due 2024.

White & Case LLP

White & Case LLP has a large team of US-qualified lawyers in its London office, many of whom handle high-yield debt and loan transactions under US law. The firm advises banks and sponsors on complex cross-border deals, and it has integrated bank/bond capability that few firms in the City can claim. Barclays, Citibank, Deutsche Bank and Nordea are among the practice's key clients. US-qualified practice head Jill Concannon has spent her entire career in the European high-yield market and is currently co-chair of the AFME High Yield Board. Up-and-coming partner James Greene frequently works with hedge funds and private credit investors on a wide variety of capital raising, restructuring and liability management transactions. Monica Holden has extensive experience advising issuers, sponsors and underwriters on corporate high-yield bond transactions, and Gilles Teerlinck handles high-yield issuances in connection with sponsor-led buyouts. Clients note that the firm has 'a very impressive and sophisticated team, especially for distressed high-yield and restructurings of high yield bonds’.

Practice head(s):

Jill Concannon

Testimonials

‘A very impressive and sophisticated team, especially for distressed high-yield and restructurings of high-yield bonds. Partners are very responsive and have an excellent grasp of the market and of the dynamics of bond restructurings, as well as the latest developments on covenants and transaction structuring across the European market.’

‘James Greene is exceptionally bright and is great at breaking down complex concepts and explaining them clearly. His advice is practical and he is extremely diligent and always available.’

‘Gilles Teerlinck offers very commercial advice – he has a real grasp of the background and goes the extra mile in producing practical solutions, which is enhanced by his excellent knowledge of the market.’

‘The firm has a growing high-yield practice that contains partners with a broad depth of experience who are a pleasure to work with.’

‘Monica Holden is an excellent and committed high-yield lawyer, who also brings a depth of M&A experience and expertise to the table. She is a pleasure to work with. Gilles Teerlinck – one of the newer additions to the firm – has built a relationship with my firm and also brings a wealth of experience from his former firm.’

‘White & Case has an excellent high-yield team made up of experienced, highly effective, client-focused and knowledgeable individuals. They act for both issuers and banks including in restructurings and are able to advice on all aspects of high yield no matter the industry of the issuer. I would highly recommend the team!’

‘James Greene is one of the best solicitors that I have worked with. He is always available and provides excellent advice. He always has time for clients.’

‘Gilles Teerlinck is an excellent attorney who advises on all aspects of high yield. He is very commercial, provides client-focused advice and is always a pleasure to work with.’

‘Jill Concannon and Monica Holden are solution-driven and highly effective lawyers. All of the partners are a pleasure to work with.’

‘James Greene and Jill Concannon are both very experienced and knowledgeable lawyers. Additionally, they are extremely approachable, making working with them a delight.’

‘Jill Concannon is very responsive, both while in the midst of a deal and when bouncing ideas off her for potential transactions. She usually knows the answer to my questions, and if she doesn’t, she finds the answer and gets back to me in short order.’

‘Gilles Teerlinck is very commercial in addition to having strong technical knowledge. He combines deal experience with strong technical skills and good commercial acumen, which is helpful in the context of negotiations.’

‘The team has excellent market knowledge and insight and they are extremely proficient transaction managers, as well as serving as excellent corporate partners to banks throughout the life of a bond issuance and beyond.’

‘The key individuals we work with are Jill Concannon and James Greene. Their technical skills, up-to-date market understanding and their highly responsive and diligent nature render their advice and assistance invaluable, but what sets them apart is the lengths they to go to understand their client’s needs and tailor their work product accordingly.’

‘Gilles Teerlinck and James Greene show incredible proactivity with respect to actively managing deadlines. They have strong negotiation skills and get an understanding of complex issues in very limited amount of time. The whole team performs well under pressure.’

‘The team is completely devoted to servicing the client. Moreover, they are able to do so with the most extensive local experience. Deals are followed very closely by several partners with different angles of expertise, which makes the firm able to cover virtually every aspect of the corporate world. The team is always available 24/7 and has often resolved difficult deadlocks in important transactions.’

‘The team differentiates itself from others by the proficiency of its lawyers and by the level of attention to detail. It is a very meticulous team and it is always a pleasure to interact with the very friendly team. Moreover, they are commercially savvy like few on the street.’

‘I am at a European bank, so I appreciate not only their depth in London, but also in their other European offices as well. Their offices are well coordinated and their jurisdictional coverage of transactions make for a smooth process.’

‘Jill Concannon is a particularly strong lawyer with great legal knowledge combined with a commercial approach and a strong team of associates.’

Key clients

Cabot Credit Management

ADES International Holding PLC

CVC Capital Partners

International Game Technology

Goldman Sachs International

Barclays

Citigroup

Nordea

Arabian Centres Company

Deutsche Bank

Work highlights

  • Represented Rossini S.à r.l. on a €650m high yield bond issuance; the proceeds of the senior secured floating rates notes due 2025 (three-month EURIBOR, with 0% floor, plus a 3.875% margin) are being used to refinance the €650m of senior secured floating notes issued in October 2018 in connection with Rossini S.à r.l.’s acquisition of an indirect majority stake in Recordati S.p.A. Rossini is owned by an investment consortium led by CVC Fund VII.
  • Represented ADES International Holding PLC on the issuance of a $325m high yield bond, 8.625% senior secured notes due 2024.
  • Represented IHS Towers (IHS Netherlands Holdco B.V.) on its $500m and $800m dual-tranche bond issue and on its $500m (equivalent) US$ and Nigerian Naira pari passu senior credit facilities agreement, which together provided IHS Towers with an aggregate $1.8bn (equivalent).

Ashurst

Ashurst has a young high yield practice in London that is steadily growing its roster of issuer and underwriter clients. Working predominantly on the issuer side, the practice already counts Barclays Capital among its clients. Its work spans new bond issuance, liability management and refinancings, alongside leveraged transactions including bridge to bonds and Term Loan B. The firm now has two partners, practice head Anna-Marie Slot and Tamer Bahgat, and four associates focused on the high yield market. One client describes Bahgat as 'a rockstar' in the high yield market for his work advising investment banks, private equity sponsors and corporate issuers. Counsel Natalia Sokolova and senior associate Michael Lee play key roles in the practice.

Practice head(s):

Anna-Marie Slot

Testimonials

‘Tamer Bahgat is a rockstar.’

Key clients

Barclays Capital

Johnstone Press

EnQuest PLC

McLaren Group Limited (Project Pitstop)

Greenko

Interserve

Renewi (Project Acqua)

Cheyne / Project Four Seasons (the Minority SSN Committee)

Work highlights

  • Represented McLaren in relation to a private placement of an additional $100m of senior secured notes, a new US dollar-denominated short-term revolving credit facility and the establishment of a new incremental facility under the group’s existing super senior revolving credit facility.
  • Advised Barclays as initial purchasers on Group Ecore Holding SAS’s offering of €255m senior secured floating rate notes due 2023.
  • Represented Barclays Bank PLC, Citigroup Global Markets Inc., Deutsche Bank AG Singapore Branch, Emirates NBD Bank PJSC, Investec Bank plc, J.P.Morgan Securities plc, Morgan Stanley & Co. International plc and Standard Chartered Bank as the joint bookrunners and lead managers, and J.P.Morgan Securities plc as lead green structuring agent in the offering of $950m of senior notes by Greenko Solar (Mauritius) Limited, a subsidiary of Greenko Energy Holdings.

Baker McKenzie

'The firm has a great high yield team with some real quality', notes a client of Baker McKenzie, noting that it is 'commercial, knowledgeable, approachable and fun to work with'. The firm's work is broad in scope, covering complex and cross-border corporate high yield issuance, acquisition finance, bank/bond leveraged finance, emerging markets debt, alternative capital and restructurings. The practice handles work across a range of industry sectors but particularly complements the firm's specialist TMT, healthcare and mining groups. Head of high yield Rob Mathews and head of EMEA capital markets Adam Farlow are the lead practitioners, with head of corporate finance Helen Bradley also involved in the practice. Mathews and David Becker are 'outstanding partners who can give off-the-cuff advice on very complex questions'. New York-qualified senior associate Benjamin Bierwirth is one to watch.

Other key lawyers:

David Becker; Benjamin Bierwirth

Testimonials

‘A consistent team with good coverage. It is attentive, responsive and gives good advice.’

‘The firm has a great high yield team with some real quality. It is commercial, knowledgeable, approachable and fun to work with.’

‘Rob Mathews and Ben Bierwirth are a great team with solid knowledge and ability to get deals done. Generally, across the bench they have decent capability. We would like to see more of them in the market.’

‘Baker McKenzie hired a stellar leveraged finance team who have years of experience in the high yield and leveraged finance market. The team is client-focused and always available to provide quick, accurate and well-informed advice. I would highly recommend the team.’

‘Rob Mathews and David Becker are both outstanding partners who are highly dedicated and are at the top of their game. They can give off-the-cuff advice on very complex questions and are very client-centric.’

‘Benjamin Bierwirth is an excellent associate. He has extensive experience having done a client secondment so knows how to service his clients’ needs in a professional and time-efficient manner. It is always a pleasure to have him on the deal team.’

‘I have known Rob Mathews for ten years and I truly view him as a partner with me and my business. His high yield legal insight, knowledge of the capital markets and commercial sense make him a valued advisor.’

Key clients

Goldman Sachs International

Morgan Stanley

Credit Suisse

J.P. Morgan

Citigroup

HSBC

DNB Markets

BNP Paribas

Impala Platinum Holdings Limited

Türk Telekomünikasyon A.S.

Work highlights

  • Representing the initial purchasers and dealer managers in connection with the high yield bond offering and tender offer by Teva Pharmaceuticals.
  • Representing (i) the initial purchasers in connection with the high yield bond offering by Cabot Credit Management and (ii) the agent and lenders in connection with amendments to Cabot’s revolving credit facility.
  • Representing Implats in connection with its bank/bond committed financing arrangements to acquire a Canadian target.

Hogan Lovells International LLP

In 2019, the London office of Hogan Lovells International LLP was involved in almost a dozen large and high-profile high yield bond offerings, acting for either the issuer or the bank, including the launch of a €1.635bn debt package for Swissport Group. James Doyle leads the debt capital markets practice, in which Sylvain Dhennin leads the high yield team. Dhennin, whose group is highly regarded for debt restructuring and liability management, counts large issuers such as Jaguar Land Rover among his clients, as well as banks including HSBC, BNP Paribas, Société Générale and Bank of America Merrill Lynch. The firm's sector focus sees it handle numerous bond issues in the aviation, hospitality, energy and automotive industries. US-qualified senior associate Daria Latysheva frequently advises issuers and underwriters on public and private securities offerings.

Practice head(s):

Sylvain Dhennin; James Doyle

Other key lawyers:

Daria Latysheva

Key clients

Swissport

Radisson Hospitality

HSBC

CACIB

BNP Paribas

Société Générale

Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Barclays

Jaguar Land Rover Automotive Plc

Citibank, N.A., London Branch

Madison Pacific Trust Ltd

BNP Paribas

The Bank of New York Mellon

Work highlights

  • Advised the Luxembourg company Swissport Group S.à r.l. and its subsidiaries, a global provider of ground and cargo handling services in the aviation industry, on the launch of a €1.635bn debt package to refinance a part of its outstanding debt.
  • Advised the underwriters in connection with Rexel’s high yield offering of €600m 2.750% senior notes due 2026.
  • Advised various investors on a €1bn Senior Note placement of Fortenova (ex Agrokor Group).

Mayer Brown International LLP

Mayer Brown International LLP advises on English, US and German law aspects of high yield bonds, focusing particularly on issuance in the German market. In Germany, the firm has a track record for innovative, market-first high yield financings, and it has a large number of repeat issuers among its clients, including Progroup and Wepa. Practice head Bernd Bohr 'has a deep knowledge of the legal and technical aspects of the high yield bond market and is one of the key lawyers in the German high yield market'. Robert (Rob) Flanigan, who frequently acts for issuers and underwriters in Rule 144A/Regulation S private placements and SEC-registered offerings, also handles high yield bond issues.

Practice head(s):

Bernd Bohr

Other key lawyers:

Robert (Rob) Flanigan

Testimonials

‘Bernd Bohr and his team have done a great job for us throughout the years and we work well together.’

‘We have a very good relationship with Bernd Bohr who leads their German capital markets practice and he has helped us on many situations.’

‘The quality of service offering is very strong. We especially value the responsiveness and availability of their senior team.’

‘We have a very strong relationship with Bernd Bohr developed over the years. From a knowledge and dedication perspective, he has been very valuable to us. He is also very diligent in terms of providing advice and following up with calls and other partners if necessary.’

‘We rate Mayer Brown as a Tier 1 legal firm when it comes to high yield bond offerings in Germany.’

‘The firm has a very successful German corporate and capital market business, which is particularly relevant for us as a German bank. We deal mainly with Bernd Bohr who is our go-to lawyer for all German and international related high yield bond matters.’

‘Bernd Bohr is a very dedicated partner; always available and eager to help us on capital markets topics. He has a deep knowledge of the legal and technical aspects of the high yield bond market and is one of the key lawyers in the German high yield market.’

‘Just recently, we completed another two high yield bond offerings with the Mayer Brown team. Since we started working with Mayer Brown in 2013, we have always benefited from its deep market knowledge as well as its experienced and dedicated team. Mayer Brown has always given us great client service, has always been transparent and commercial with regard to legal fees and is generally offering us good value for money.’

‘Bernd Bohr is reliable and well experienced. He is very “hands on” and hardworking, and he knows the market extremely well. At the same time, he always listens to our specific needs and comes up with tailor-made solutions.’

‘The firm has a leading leveraged finance, sub-investment grade team across Europe with exceptional breadth and unique market insight.’

‘Bernd Bohr is a star and a seasoned player in the European financing space, in particular for high yield bonds.’

‘The firm is outstanding, showing individual professional competence and responsiveness at all times.’

‘It shows broad knowledge and excellent recognition of relationships.’

‘It has extremely detailed knowledge of the process and the subject matter.’

Key clients

Klesch Group

Raffinerie Heide

Progroup

JH Holding

Wepa Hygieneprodukte

Westbourne Credit Management Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Progroup AG in connection with a €150m tap offering of its €450m 3.000% senior secured (high yield) notes due 2026 as well as the entry into three additional credit facilities with €75m in total commitments.
  • Advised Wepa Hygieneprodukte GmbH on a €550m dual-tranche offering consisting of €350m 2.875% Senior Secured Fixed Rate Notes due 2027 and €200m Senior Secured Floating Rate Notes due 2026, as well as a subsequent €50m tap offering of the 2.875% Senior Secured Fixed Rate Notes due 2027.
  • Advised Westbourne Credit Management Limited in connection with its proposed purchase by five funds that it advises of New York law-governed notes by high yield issuer Atlantica Yield, a sustainable infrastructure company that owns a diversified portfolio of contracted renewable energy, efficient natural gas, electric transmission and water assets in North & South America, and certain markets in EMEA. Atlantica Yield is listed on Nasdaq with a market capitalisation of $2.6bn.

Proskauer Rose LLP

Proskauer Rose LLP has 'a boutique approach with partners who are very committed, available and responsive throughout the deal'. The firm acts for leading asset managers, issuers and global financial institutions in the high yield market, though most of its work is for private equity sponsors, asset managers or investment fund managers. Among its recent deals was one of the largest European high yield deals, one of the largest deals in Spain, and the largest Asian high yield green bond. Practice head Maximillian Kirchner is 'a great lawyer, very commercial and responsive, technically excellent and literally available 24/7'. He represents private equity sponsors, multinational companies, investment banks and investment funds in capital markets and leveraged finance transactions. One client praises his 'excellent skillset in executing complex high yield bond deals and his invaluable guidance'.

Testimonials

‘Proskauer is one of our favourite law firms to work with on complex cross-border high-yield matters, and we have built a long-standing relationship and trust with them. The Proskauer team provides top-quality service for a reasonable price. Compared to larger firms, Proskauer has a boutique approach with partners that are very committed and are available and responsive throughout the deal.’

‘The primary attorney we work with at Proskauer is Maximilian Kirchner. Max is a great lawyer, very commercial and responsive, technically excellent and literally available 24/7. He has a deep understanding of the high yield market. In addition, he is really personable. It is a pleasure to work with him.’

‘Proskauer has a premier practice in London advising asset managers on high yield transactions and has especially strong expertise in complex deals involving multiple jurisdictions.’

‘Proskauer’s London office has a top-notch team with industry expertise based on the firm’s strength around US-style high yield bond execution.’

‘In contrast to other firms, Proskauer has a boutique approach with partners who are “hands on” and very involved in the transaction from kick-off to closing, an approach that we prefer.’

‘In the high yield space, Proskauer provides the best value for money. Maximilian Kirchner advises us on various pan-European and transatlantic high yield transactions. He has a very deep understanding of the high yield market and is exceptionally responsive.’

‘The quality of Maximilian Kirchner’s work is outstanding, and he is very efficient when it comes to cost control. In addition to his excellent skillset in executing complex high yield bond deals, Maximilian provides invaluable guidance during the structuring of deals.’

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (UK) LLP

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (UK) LLP has a strong presence in complex capital markets transactions around the world, frequently involving multiple jurisdictions, and its integrated London practice handles IPOs, rights offerings, high yield financings, regulatory capital deals and other hybrid securities. In the high yield space, the firm represent underwriters and issuers in bond issuance as part of corporate acquisitions, leveraged recapitalisations and refinancings. 'The team is always available and willing to help the client meet its business objectives not only on the technical side, but also on the human side', remarks one client. European head of capital markets Danny Tricot and European head of high yield James McDonald are the lead practitioners.

Practice head(s):

Danny Tricot; James McDonald

Testimonials

‘The Skadden team is able to leverage, in a very effective way, with its global offices not only on items related to the matters at hand, but also regarding the client’s background and the “big picture” for the client.’

‘The team is always available and willing to help the client meet its business objectives not only on the technical side, but also on the human side and showing they are invested in the matter.’

Key clients

Atlantica Yield plc

CEMEX, S.A.B. de C.V.

Ashtead Group plc

Stena

Ball Corporation

Work highlights

  • Advised Atlantica Yield plc in a $300m senior unsecured note issuance to redeem all of its outstanding senior notes.
  • Advising CEMEX, S.A.B. de C.V., a global building materials company based in Mexico, in the issuance of $1bn 5.450% Senior Secured Notes due 2029.
  • Acted for Ashtead Group plc (United Kingdom) in a $1.2bn Rule 144A/Regulation S offering of second priority senior secured notes by its subsidiary, Ashtead Capital, Inc. in two tranches: $600m of 4.000% second priority senior secured notes due 2028 and $600m of 4.250% second priority senior secured notes due 2029.

Vinson & Elkins RLLP

Vinson & Elkins RLLP climbs the ranking this year due to involvement in high yield offerings for energy industry participants, including upstream oil and gas companies, midstream companies, and oilfield service companies. The firm also handles deals in other industries including automotive, consumer products, manufacturing, financial services, food and drink, mining and metals, and retail on behalf of investment banks, issuers and sponsors, but it is best known for its work in the energy sector. Jeffrey Eldredge leads the practice and handles a broad range of work in the energy and telecommunications sectors, in which high yield bond issuance is a key element. Leveraged finance partner Noel Hughes advises issuers, underwriters  and alternative capital investors on high yield debt, liability management and US securities law matters.

Practice head(s):

Jeffrey Eldredge

Other key lawyers:

Noel Hughes

Key clients

J.P. Morgan

Goldman Sachs

Bank of America, N.A.

Deutsche Bank

First Quantum Minerals Ltd

Petra Diamonds Limited

Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets

Empark Aparcamientos y Servicios, S.A.

Work highlights

  • Represented Arena Luxembourg Investments S.à r.l., the holding company for Empark Aparcamientos y Servicios, S.A. (a Macquarie portfolio company), in its Rule 144A/Regulation S offering of €575m in aggregate principal amount of senior secured notes, comprising (i) €475m principal amount of 1.875% senior secured fixed rate notes due 2028 and (ii) €100m principal amount of senior secured floating rate notes due 2027.
  • Represented J.P. Morgan and the initial purchasers in the issuance by Ithaca Energy (North Sea) plc of $500m Senior Notes due 2024 in connection with the acquisition of Chevron North Sea Limited.
  • Represented numerous investment banks as joint bookrunners, in connection with the Rule 144A/Regulation S offering of $1.2bn billion aggregate principal amount of 5.000% senior secured notes due 2028, €1.1bn aggregate principal amount of 3.000% senior secured notes due 2028 and €600 million aggregate principal amount of 2.250% senior secured notes due 2025 (aggregate €2.78bn equivalent) by Altice Financing S.A., a financing vehicle of Altice International S.à r.l.

Weil, Gotshal & Manges (London) LLP

'The firm has a pragmatic approach to handling transactions and complex situations, and it is willing to think outside the box and find solutions', says a client of Weil, Gotshal & Manges (London) LLP. In 2019, the firm was busy with acquisition financings, refinancings, restructurings and tap issuances. The high yield practice works closely with the banking group to handle bond and loan execution, often in regard to innovative and high-value transactions. One example is its work for Bain Capital in a complex $4bn carve-out acquisition of a 60% stake in Kantar. Practice head Patrick Bright is 'incredibly responsive, approachable and always willing to explore complex and non-standard situations'. Up-and-coming partner Nitin Konchady, who splits his time between New York and London, and associate Stefan Monaghan are also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Patrick Bright

Other key lawyers:

Nitin Konchady; Stefan Monaghan

Testimonials

‘The firm has a pragmatic approach to handling transactions and complex situations, and it is willing to think outside the box and find solutions for problems.’

‘Patrick Bright is incredibly responsive, approachable and always willing to explore complex and non-standard situations.’

‘The team is pragmatic, client-friendly and equally capable of managing both the sponsors and the management teams through the funding process. It is an A+ team.’

‘Patrick Bright has a fantastic command of the legal aspects and how to distil those for the commercial folks in a way that helps us as a borrower to make optimal financing choices.’

‘They advised us on our first high yield issuance to refinance our existing senior indebtedness. Patrick Bright has strong experience in capital market transactions and remains very accessible for beginners and small players like us. He perfectly understood our constraints and our needs and built an efficient team in consequence. He took the upper hand on the bargaining and it was a relief to have him on our side.’

‘Associate Stefan Monaghan shows an incredible commitment to the deal and he never refuses to help, even when it was not exactly in his area of expertise. He managed to explain technical matters in very plain words and in our native language. He was obviously the keystone of the team to deliver a peaceful and smooth deal for us.’

Key clients

Advent International (sponsor)

Bain Capital (sponsor)

HLD (sponsor)

Goldman Sachs (underwriter)

Montefiore (sponsor)

Infopro Digital (issuer)

Morgan Stanley (underwriter)

Novalpina Capital (sponsor)

PIMCO Europe (investor)

TowerBrook Capital Partners (sponsor)

Work highlights

  • Advised Bain Capital on the complex $4bn carve-out acquisition of a 60% stake in Kantar from WPP plc, which required a multi-tiered financing catering for a multi-staged closing.
  • Advised Advent International in connection with the financing for its £4bn high-profile acquisition of Cobham plc.
  • Advised on the £635m refinancing of the existing debt of Domestic & General, a portfolio company of CVC.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton is a well-established player in the European high yield market with a focus on complex and innovative transactions. The practice has never pursued a high volume of transactions, hence its relatively small team in London, but it is known for its innovative approach to covenants and deal structuring. Its high yield practitioners, principally key partner Pierre-Marie Boury, work in close collaboration with the firm's broader capital markets, leveraged finance, M&A, liability management and restructuring practices to advise issuers and, increasingly, underwriters on complex matters, which in 2019 included the first high yield issuance by a Romanian corporate issuer.

Other key lawyers:

Pierre-Marie Boury

Key clients

Citigroup

ING

UniCredit Bank

ArcelorMittal

Comisión Federal de Electricidad

BNP Paribas

Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Citigroup

Santander

Work highlights

  • Represented Citigroup, ING, and UniCredit Bank, as initial purchasers, in a landmark offering of two tranches of senior secured high-yield notes by RCS & RDS S.A. (RCS & RDS), the first-ever high-yield issuances by a Romanian issuer.
  • Provided strategic debt capital markets and financing advice to ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steel company, on its divestiture of steel plants in Romania, Czech Republic, Italy, Belgium, Luxembourg and Macedonia to Liberty House Group (Liberty) in a series of deals valued at approximately €1.4bn.
  • Counsel to long-time client Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE), the Mexican state-owned electric company, in a $615m offering of 5% notes due 2049, dual listed on the Taipei Exchange and the Luxembourg Stock Exchange.

DLA Piper

DLA Piper acts predominantly for corporate issuers in large UK and international high yield bond issues, though it also advises above investment grade companies and private equity sponsors when they acquire issuers of high yield bonds. The London office works closely with teams across its large international network, which houses a large international finance, projects and restructuring group. Global co-chair of finance and projects Martin Bartlam oversees the practice, along with UK head of capital markets and structured investments Tony Lopez and global co-chair of the financial services sector Mark Dwyer. Their work spans acquisitions in which target companies have high yield debt, restructurings and advice on covenant compliance.

Key clients

HSBC Corporate Trustee Company

HSBC Bank plc

Corral Petroleum Holdings AB

ASR Media and Sponsorship S.p.A.

Work highlights

  • Acting for ASR Media and Sponsorship S.p.A. (a subsidiary of the AS Roma football club) in its issuance of €275m 5.125% Senior Secured Notes due 2024, guaranteed by Soccer S.a.s. di Brand Management S.r.l.
  • Advised Corral Petroleum Holdings AB on the total redemption of its €570m 11.750% / 13.250% Senior PIK Toggle Notes due 2021 and SEK500m 12.250% / 13.750% Senior PIK Toggle Notes due 2021.
  • Acting for HSBC Corporate Trustee Company (UK) Limited as Trustee, and HSBC Bank plc as Paying Agent, Transfer Agent and Registrar, in relation to the €500m 2.50% Senior Notes due 2024 issued by Mytilineos Financial Partners S.A. and guaranteed by Mytilineos S.A., issued on 29 November 2019.

Reed Smith LLP

Reed Smith LLP has a large capital markets practice across Europe for which high yield is a niche area. In London, the practice focuses on representing trustees and security agents in high yield bond issues, counting the trustee divisions of some of the largest global banks among its clients. EMEA managing partner Tamara Box brings her broad capital markets and structured finance experience to bear on the firm's high yield mandates along with structured finance partners Nick Stainthorpe and Simon Hugo. Restructuring and inoslvency partner Diane Roberts also plays a growing role in the practice. Ranajoy Basu moved to McDermott Will & Emery UK LLP.

Willkie Farr & Gallagher (UK) LLP

Willkie Farr & Gallagher (UK) LLP joins the ranking due to the growing involvement of London-based partner Jennifer Tait in large, cross-border high yield issuance, usually related to corporate acquisitions. Tait, who is dual-qualified in English and New York law, and a team of three associates focus on equity and debt capital markets transactions, with a particular emphasis on high yield bonds. Working closely with the firm's long-established high yield practice in New York, as well as the business reorganisation and restructuring group, the team is increasingly visible in standalone bond issues, LBOs and acquisition finance.

Practice head(s):

Jennifer Tait

Key clients

Platinum Equity

Baillie Gifford European Growth Trust plc

The coordinating committee of senior secured noteholders in the restructuring of Lecta S.A.

CMA CGM

Joint bookrunners in Senior Notes offering by PartnerRe

Aegerion Pharmaceuticals

FIS

Joint bookrunners in Senior Notes offering by Marsh & McLennan

Work highlights

  • Advised in the $2.1bn high yield and holding company financing in connection with Platinum Equity’s acquisition of Wesco Aircraft (NYSE: WAIR) and subsequent merger with Pattonair.
  • Acted as lead financing counsel to Platinum Equity in its high yield offering of $300m aggregate principal amount of 9.50% Senior Notes due 2028, in connection with the acquisition of Cision Ltd.
  • Advised on the comprehensive financial restructuring of the Lecta Group including the exchange of Lecta’s existing €375m 6.50% Fixed Rate Senior Secured Notes due 2023 and its €225m Floating Rate Senior Secured Notes due 2022 for new Floating Rate Senior Secured Notes due 2025 and Subordinated Floating Rate PIK Notes due 2028.